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Yongsan public health director questioned over Itaewon crowd crush

All News 14:35 November 22, 2022

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Yonhap) -- Police brought in the head of a public health department of Yongsan Ward office for questioning Tuesday as part of an investigation into the bungled response to the crowd crush in Seoul's Itaewon neighborhood.

Choi Jae-won, who works as a health director at the ward office covering the Itaewon district, appeared before a special investigation team over suspicions that he had arrived at the crowd crush site late.

Choi is also under suspicion of returning to the ward office building without properly taking actions at the site on the day, resulting in the deaths of at least 158 people, mostly those in their 20s.

According to an emergency manual by the ministry of health, he is responsible for directing fire officials and other members of the disaster medical assistance team at the scene in the case of a disaster.

Also, the team said it has notified Choi Seong-beom, chief of the Yongsan Fire Station, to appear for questioning once again on Saturday.

Choi, who underwent nearly 13 hours of questioning a day earlier, is accused of inaction in the face of police requests for a joint response on the night of the accident, officers said.

He has been booked on charges of professional negligence.

Police are also set to bring in Lee Im-jae, who formerly headed Yongsan Police Station, for questioning one more time this week.

Lee has been booked on charges of professional negligence and manslaughter by negligence resulting in the deaths.

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Yongsan public health director questioned over Itaewon crowd crush - 2

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